setting boundaries and becoming more assertive

up until this month, I thought I was doing pretty good with my recovery.  I was learning plenty with and without help, I was done with the nightmares, done with the divorce, done with a huge chunk of the social anxiety and PTSD.

Now? As I struggle to learn to become more assertive and try to put healthy boundaries there, things seem to be going sideways.  Folks that had seemingly no issue with me now do.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to manage my empathy, i.e. not over do it on the being helpful or advice giving… sort of step back… problem is I’m struggling with that.  I’d been doing so well, but this is a tough one for me.  This is where I’m struggling… because I’ve never been assertive, ever unless I was angry or pushed to a limit.

As a child, I was bullied at school and it wasn’t safe to be assertive.

later on I was a loner so being assertive just wasn’t necessary.

then a bad relationship with the narc ex… assertiveness went from calling him out on his BS to regretting it from his revenge tactics and then just not being safe doing it.

When I left a year and a half ago, I wasn’t very assertive, there were moments when I could be, but not much.

Now, attempting to find that balance seems to get me in trouble no matter what I do… I feel like I’m back walking on eggshells and I’ve realized that along with short term memory issues, my brain hurts, deep in the center.

I know from that one article that abuse can shrink the one part of your brain and increase the larger primal response center… so it seems that it’s affecting it enough now to actually cause severe pain.  Mostly when I start feeling like I did back in the relationship.  And here I thought I had been able to undo some of the damage the abuse had caused.  I guess I was mistaken.

I wonder if anyone else is going through and can actually pin point the pain right in the deep center of the brain.

I am trying to not sink into any sort of depression but it’s very difficult…

I had found welcoming places / people and now… it looks like my struggling with assertiveness is certainly causing issues.  My stepping back and trying to be assertive is being taken the wrong way, big time.  Even with folks who know I have been through abuse and have issues I’m working on… but I guess the fact I was doing so well until now, and no longer am, sort of put that in question.

all I can add to that is that being INFJ sucks… I feel more and more like an alien on this planet

great video

i’ve gained knowledge over the past few years, I’ve fought and struggled to rebuild, still am.  I’ve done tremendous amount of healing and realized I always had boundaries but did not know how to enforce them, did not know how to tell when they were bypassed by someone close to me.  I allowed for more disrespect then I should have because I was missing one thing: deal-breakers and enforcement of my own rules.

Here is a great video that will help.

though I disagree, at least in some cases, where some knowledge of how narcissists operate and has helped me by giving me closure into the fact that the ex was never going to change and how deep my own gullibility had gone, which in fact helped me move on and heal, as well as set my barriers and tolerance levels as I heal.  I am very close to being able to say i’ve healed.  I know that I will have to keep a close eye on monitoring those boundaries and not letting anyone cross them for a while, until it becomes second nature.  I think there is a risk of addiction for some people who have been abused to thread by that research of knowledge, but I also think I’ve gotten my answers and am satisfied with the things I learned and am ready to move on.

In any instance of learning and healing there comes a point where any more information becomes mere icing on the cake.  It is not necessary.  It may keep you entrapped at a level where you do not move forward any more.  That is the danger point.  That is where you must move on and continue to grow or risk stagnating in that stage of your healing process.  It is a very real risk for many.  Therefore if you thread that path, you must keep in touch with yourself and your needs and recognize when it is time to move forward to continue healing.

It will make you tired, it will drain you but there is a moment when the PTSD/C-PTSD is triggered after you leave, and this may be on-going at different situations as parts may awaken under different circumstances, not all at once.  Those are the triggers you need to notice, those are the triggers you have to learn to handle and deal with.  Once you have a grasp on your triggers, and healing may not be linear so there may be additional triggers later on and the more triggers the more healing you need and the more effort you have to put in in order to effectively heal.

There is a stage where you relive memories that have happened and may co-mingle with dreams of instances that did not happen.  It’s important to sort out what really happened from the rest, as best you can.  It is necessary to relive those moments and be able to know you were not crazy and you were not the one that caused these things to happen.  For this, knowledge.
Not everyone had the insight to be able to do this on a conscious level in addition to the subconscious level (because your subconscious mind will eventually purge the trauma in it’s own time, but understanding with insight on a conscious level can help speed it up for some people.  Others require medication just to cope with the trauma.  Keep in mind that everyone is different in their healing method and processes.

another stage has been to focus on myself, my lacks, my “broken pieces”, as some would refer to them, and work on what I need to say or do in some situations and which situations is it safer to not respond and pretend I did not hear.  Which instances is it best to stand up and say “STOP” and to whom.  When is it safe for me to be assertive and when is it alright to be kind and help others.  When is it better to stop helping someone (usually after you helped them once and they:
– begin to assume they are entitled to that help
– breach boundaries and/or make you feel bad or uncomfortable for having tried to help
– are not grateful for and/or insult you even though you gave them help
– are asking for help from you at a bad time and cannot understand that you cannot help them this time or at this time)

There is a stage when you must work not only on your assertiveness, but also on timing for certain responses.

Remind yourself that you are still learning and that you may make mistakes.  Be kind to yourself in those instants, you are doing the best you can and learning new skills which is never an easy thing to do.  You will goof up, you will mess up and those that get upset by your mistakes are likely to be toxic people anyway.  Those that matter will understand.

it is always very important that you do not get “stuck” at one stage or another of your recovery but it is just as important that you stay there long enough not to return later… balance… know yourself, know where you need more help (or try to figure it out) and when it has served its purpose, know to move on to the next stage of healing.

anyway, enough rambling about stages of healing… enjoy the video

The only two things you need to avoid EVER attracting another narcissist, by Kim Saeed